Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will tell Congress that embattled libra crypto project will ‘extend America’s financial leadership’

GP: Mark Zuckerberg Facebook  3

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify following a break during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee joint hearing about Facebook on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg will testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, telling lawmakers that the Facebook-backed libra cryptocurrency “will extend America’s financial leadership as well as our democratic values and oversight around the world.”

“While we debate these issues, the rest of the world isn’t waiting. China is moving quickly to launch similar ideas in the coming months,” Zuckerberg said in his prepared remarks. “Libra will be backed mostly by dollars and I believe it will extend America’s financial leadership as well as our democratic values and oversight around the world. If America doesn’t innovate, our financial leadership is not guaranteed.”

Zuckerberg’s testimony comes after a rough few weeks for the Libra Association, which is the group that governs the libra cryptocurrency. The Libra Association saw its membership dwindle down to 21 after the departures of Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, eBay, Stripe, Booking and Mercado Pago.

When Facebook announced libra, the social media company said that it planned to launch the digital currency in 2020. Since then, the company has said that it will not launch Libra until it receives regulatory approval. Zuckerberg reiterated that stance in his prepared remarks. 

“Even though the Libra Association is independent and we don’t control it, I want to be clear: Facebook will not be part of launching the Libra payments system anywhere in the world until US regulators approve,” Zuckerberg said. 

In his remarks, Zuckerberg also stressed that the future of the libra cryptocurrency is now in the hands of the Libra Association, not Facebook. 

“By design, we don’t expect to be leading those efforts going forward,” Zuckerberg said. “The Libra Association has been created, has a governance structure in place, and will be driving the project from now on.”

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